Reports anticipate peak travel season over May Day holiday
Wang Yutong

This year, May Day, also known as Labor Day which is a five-day holiday in China, is coinciding with the easing of restrictions on movement related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The upcoming holiday season, starting May 1, is expected to come as a big relief for the hard-hit domestic tourism industry, according to two reports published separately by China Ctrip and Group.

May Day could mark the first peak for travel in 2020, with more than 80 million domestic trips expected, doubling those of the April Qingming Festival holiday.

Ctrip released the forecast report on the new trend of tourism consumption during the May Day holiday this year, which puts inter-provincial tourism at the centerstage. All kinds of high-quality products focusing on experience will gain more popularity. With concerns over epidemic prevention, scenic spots are also moving towards "smart tourism."

Huge monthly rise in travelers' volume

The transportation volume of the May Day holiday in 2020 is expected to see a 353-percent increase compared to April, and the total number of trips will rise by 282 percent with a significant increase in flight bookings.

To spur domestic travels, more than 20 city governments have launched "tourism spending vouchers." The move is expected to increase group tour orders by 160 percent.

Cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu and Shenzhen, which are among the top five domestic travel destinations in China, are also gearing up for large influx of tourists. All Metro lines in Shanghai will be running according to the pre-coronavirus schedule and the Maglev line will also restore its normal timetable from May 1.

Ticket bookings at scenic spots have seen a 94-percent increase since last month. A total of 4,000 scenic spots will throw their doors open during the holiday season.  Taiping National Forest Park, Houshan Mountain, City of flower, Mutianyu Great Wall, Huangshan Mountain Scenic Area, and Wuyi Mountain are some of the most popular spots this season. 

The dawn of 'appointment-based tourism'

Amid restrictions on movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inter-province, long-distance and overseas travel have remained subdued and local travel within the provinces has become more popular among tourists.

Self-driving has become a recent trend. Car rental bookings on Ctrip's online platform reached 70 percent in the same period last year. According to statistics, it is estimated that this year the top three provinces with most self-driving trips would be Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. 

Perhaps the most notable feature of this year's May Day holiday is the onset of "appointment-based tourism."

Chinese authorities have urged the safe and orderly opening of tourist sites across the country during the upcoming five-day May Day holiday, stressing that efforts should be made to control passenger flow to avoid gathering of crowds by implementing reservation systems. So, if you're traveling this May Day, please check if your chosen attraction requires you to make a reservation in advance. 

The reports pointed out that to ensure the safety and health of the tourists, many tourist spots have accelerated the construction of "smart tourism," using technology to manage crowds while following the ongoing social distancing measures. 

(Graphics designed by Qu Bo)